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204        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

the task of repelling its advances in the countries still adhering to
Rome and of countering them in Protestant countries. The
scholarly interests of Ignatius and his followers led them to see
that the key to the situation was in higher education ; and as part
of their organization for overcoming heresy they gradually built
up in all the countries where they established themselves a system
of colleges and universities, resembling in general character the
educational institutions of their opponents, but modified in
accordance with their own special aims. In this enterprise they
achieved immediate success. Before the death of Ignatius the
order had a hundred colleges and houses distributed over twelve
" provinces," and by the end of the century a very large part of
the higher educational work in Catholic countries was in the hands
of its members.

The secret of their success is partly to be found in the fine
enthusiasm and devotion with which they combined learning and
piety in the performance of their duties. The catastrophe of the
Reformation had given a new vigour to all the deeper and nobler
elements in Catholicism; and people and rulers alike in most
countries were ready to welcome the self-denying labours of a
society which had proved its intellectual and spiritual worth in
face of the bitterest opposition, and to grant the unreserved control
of colleges and universities demanded by it as a condition of under-
taking the work of education. But this in itself would not have
secured the permanence of the movement. For that the explanation
must be found in the evolution of an educational system which was
at once in complete accord with the genius of Catholicism and
fundamentally sound in its practical methods. With profound
insight into the needs of the age, Ignatius followed the military
models with which his earlier life had made him familiar. The
Spanish name he first applied to the order was " The Regiment of
Jesus " ; the head of it, called the " General," was endowed with
the absolute authority of a military head ; every member under-
took the implicit obedience of a soldier to his superior. With all
this the essential autocracy was mitigated by a sane regard for
human nature. Ignatius himself, though a visionary, was a man
of rare practical judgment, and knew how to make full use of the
special abilities and interests of his subordinates; and his im-
mediate successors, to whom it fell to complete the system
initiated by him, followed closely in his footsteps.